Sunday, July 17, 2005


Traditional Iranian Musical Instrumental: A Brief Description

Kamanche /كمانچه

Thanks to Mr. Kamron Jabbari (Mazda Publishers-Iranica Institute: Outreach Program), Orange County, Southern California, who has posted the following text to our e-address

Traditional Iranian Musical Instruments


Daf is one of the most ancient frame drums in Asia and North Africa. As an Persian instrument, in 20th century, it is considered as a Sufi instrument to be played in Khanghah-s for Zikr music but now this percussion instrument has recently become very popular and it has been integrated into Persian art music successfully

The dotar (literally in Persian meaning "two strings"), and it comes from a family of long-necked lutes and can be found throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and as far as the North East of China in Xinjiang too. In Iran, the dotar is played mainly in the north and the east of Khorasan as well as among the Turkmen of Gorgan and Gonbad. The instrument remains the same but its dimensions and the number of its ligatures vary slightly from region to region. Two types of wood are used in the fabrication of the dotar. The pear-shaped body is carved out of a single block of mulberry wood. Its neck is made of either the wood of the apricot or the walnut tree. It has two steel strings, which in the past were made of silk or animal entrails. The dotar is tuned in fourth or fifth intervals

The kamanche is a bowed spike fiddle. The instrument has four metal strings, and the body consists of a wooden hemisphere covered with thin sheepskin membrane. Oddly, the instrument's bridge runs diagonally across this membrane. The instrument is highly ornate and is about the size of a viola. The tuning varies depending upon the region of the country where it is being played. In Tehran, the kamanche is tuned in the same manner as a violin: G, D, A, E

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